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The root causes of the Turmoil in the Middle East - Research Paper Example

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Root Causes of Turmoil in the Middle East Introduction The Middle East is the term given to that geographical area where three great continents converge – namely Asia, Africa and Europe. There is general disagreement, however, as to which countries are included in this region…
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The root causes of the Turmoil in the Middle East
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Download file to see previous pages 4). It is generally conceded, however, that the countries that comprise the Middle East include Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia (Middle East Information Network, 2010). From as far back as history records, the Middle East region has been beset by armed unrest and turmoil, of every possible kind – between the Arabs and Israelis on territory, between two or more Arab nations on borders, between Arab nations based on alliances in the Cold War, and even within Arab nations in the form of interracial or ethnic conflicts. More recently, civil social unrest against autocratic regimes, similar to those in eighteenth century Europe, ushered in a different type of turmoil that expressed the popular desire for democratic reforms. This study shall briefly discuss the principal causes of turmoil in the Middle East, namely: (1) the interests vested by the Western superpowers in the region; (2) the contest for territorial control and misspecification of boundaries, and (3) the clamour for democratic governance and the end of kleptocracy and autocracy. Interest of superpowers in trade access and oil reserves The geographical location of the Middle East played an important role in the origin and progress of turmoil in the region. ...
Even in contemporary times, its strategic location has sparked occasional military offensives, such as that mounted by Israel against Egypt when the latter denied access to Israeli shipping through the Suez Canal (Milton-Edwards & Hinchcliffe, 2008). Besides being the trade gateway to three continents, the region is also situated over the world’s largest oil reserves, representing roughly two-thirds of all the oil supply internationally. Over 60% of the proven oil reserves in the world is to be found in the Persian Gulf, for which stakes the world’s superpowers had played for. This has been the principal interest of the U.S. and the USSR in the region during the Cold War. Other factors such as the U.S.-Israeli alliance precipitated the USSR-Afghanistan tie-up in the post-World War II power alignment, which served to establish their bid for control of the region’s oil (Heini, 1970). One may argue that the world’s superpowers have interests around the globe at one time or another, but despite interventions from the major developed countries, this fact does not necessarily lead to the continuous state of turmoil or unrest that is evident in the Middle East. Thus while it is an important external cause, it is one that impacts most those countries that are weak or unstable. Contestation of territorial control and illogical boundaries Many point to the Israeli-Arab war as a religious war; in truth, it is more a territorial war. The seeds of conflict were sown in 1947, when Britain withdrew from Palestine and a U.N. resolution called for the partition of Palestine into two, a Jewish state and an Arab state. Resistance to this partition erupted into hostilities between ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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